Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
I slept in today, finally getting up after 08:30. I then got ready, but lazed around in my room for some time, exhausted from yesterday’s hike. Finally, after 10:00, I left the hotel and walked north toward the “Red Terror” Martys Memorial Museum. Along the way, I passed by many construction sites and it looks like Ethiopia has come across new money (or perhaps new found capitalism) and there is a large building boom in Addis Ababa. I finally reached the “Red Terror” museum, went inside (entrance is free, but a donation is expected), and looked around at its exhibits. The museum details the atrocities committed by the Derg (“committee”) regime after they took power following the removal of Emperor Haile Selassie I from power in 1974; the Derg set up a communist government and proceeded to torture and murder anyone seen as a threat; thousands were killed from 1977 to 1978 and it is this period in Ethiopian history that is known as the “Red Terror”; it felt like deja vu for me, from when I visited the Killing Fields and S-21 while in Cambodia; once again, history teaches us what happens when a communist regime takes power; this appears to happen everywhere the state is given totalitarian power and you would think people in this world would have learned by now to never elect a communist government nor to secede too many powers to their government, but, alas, people are incredibly stupid and so history will continue to repeat itself (first it’s tragedy, then it’s comedy, right?). After visiting that depressing museum, I then walked next door to the Addis Ababa museum, but it was closed for renovations; so I walked north, past the Ras Mekonen Stream (where some guy was actually bathing – two things: one, that water is disgusting; two, every time I passed this stream while in Addis, I always saw some guy bathing, so obviously this culture is more open to nudity than their neighbors and it is funny that it is right next to the National Palace – talk about a contrast between the well-to-do and the poverty-stricken). I then walked past the palace (no stopping and no pictures allowed – typical paranoid government doing everything they can to ensure they hold on to power) and as I was walking, some scam artist tagged along and started to tell me his bullshit story and get me to follow him, but, since I was hungry and wanted to lose this loser, I walked right in to the Hilton hotel. Once in the Hilton, I found the bar, ordered fish and chips and a few beers; while drinking and eating, I read some more of ‘Islands in the Stream’. Once finished, I walked around the Hilton, inquired about the cost of using their sauna and steam room (it was too expensive for me), and then left, continuing my walk uphill, northward. I then reached the Holy Trinity Cathedral and walked around outside taking pictures, but once I was told I needed to buy a ticket to visit this House of God even though none of the locals had to, I left in disgust. It was now past 15:00 and I decided to head back; so I walked downhill, past the Sheraton and past a wedding convoy being videographed by a lead car; then, when I reached the area of heaviest construction where a new highway is being built, I ran in to an Australian traveler who was heading to the African Union; since I felt like I wasted the day and didn’t really want to return to my hotel just yet, I decided to join the Aussie; we walked westward and then turned south on Roosevelt Street; we reached the African Union (that European Union wannabe) and were directed to the main entrance where we were able to take photographs as long as we were not there to long; after that visit, to the main entrance gate, we then walked east until I split to head southward to my hotel. After reaching my hotel, I then went inside my room to relax and eventually I fell asleep sometime after 19:00 (very early by my standards).